Dr. Alan ray, President
A long-time educator and academic administrator, Dr. Alan Ray comes to his role as the ninth President of Fisher College after serving seven years as President of Elmhurst College, in Illinois. Under his leadership, Elmhurst implemented its first two comprehensive strategic plans; launched a new School for Professional Studies that significantly expanded its graduate, certificate, and online academic programs; raised over $24M in gifts, pledges, and state grants; completed major capital projects; doubled its percentage of students of color; and, based on data from his final year as President, moved into U.S. News & World Report’s list of top 10 masters-degree-granting colleges in the Midwest. He recently completed a 14-month appointment as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.
Before assuming Elmhurst College’s presidency, Dr. Ray worked for the University of New Hampshire for four years as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost, after serving Harvard Law School for eight years as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Dr. Ray is also an attorney, admitted to the bars of California and Massachusetts. Prior to entering academic administration, he practiced law in Los Angeles and Boston. As an associate with the firm Richards, Watson & Gershon in Los Angeles, he practiced municipal law as an assistant city attorney, focusing on land use law and planning, environmental, and constitutional law.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Dr. Ray is an active citizen of the Cherokee Nation. In 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to the 15-member National Advisory Council on Indian Education, a post he held for the duration of the Obama administration. An experienced adjunct faculty member at institutions including Boston College, Harvard Divinity and Law Schools, and the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Ray’s scholarship and teaching since the early 1990s has addressed cultural and political questions in federal Indian law: religious rights on public lands, tribal citizenship and sovereignty, and Native American identity.
Dr. Ray has been a featured speaker on Native American issues at institutions around the country, including Dartmouth College; the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (Chicago); University of California, Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco); Union Theological Seminary (NYC); Vermont Law School; and Yale Law School. As a member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Harvard University Native American Program, Dr. Ray served for many years in a variety of leadership roles. In addition to his work in federal Indian law, he is a writer and speaker on the value of religious and cultural pluralism for a transformative college experience. His reflections on campus life have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Liberal Education magazine, among many other media.
Dr. Ray graduated summa cum laude in philosophy from the former St. Thomas Seminary College in Denver. He holds a Ph.D.in religious studies from Harvard and a J.D. from U.C. Hastings. Dr. Ray has served on the boards of nonprofit institutions in the Chicago and Boston areas and is currently a trustee of the Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA. Dr. Ray, his spouse Angela Katsos Ray, and their three young children make their home in Boxford, MA.